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Energy efficiency has been in the spotlight for decades, particularly in regard to buildings, which today account for 42% of the world’s energy use. Facility managers use building management systems (BMS) to automate their facilities and gather data about building performance and energy usage. The BMS helps reduce operating and maintenance costs, improve building comfort, and save energy.
Understanding all of the “big data” generated by a modern BMS requires significant training and in-depth knowledge of the facility, combined with tools such as dashboards or analytics, as well as a significant investment in IT. Factors like aging buildings and equipment, reduced budgets, and personnel turnover add to the challenge of harnessing big data to deliver sustainable, high-performance buildings.
Facility managers have a variety of approaches to consider in tackling the “big data” dilemma:
• Custom-built BMS data dashboard solutions let facility managers view performance metrics, manually spot trends, and gather insights, which is effective for simple monitoring. Data dashboards can identify where inefficiencies exist, but don’t reveal why, which makes them an imperfect tool for prioritizing maintenance needs to drive better performance. They are expensive to create and maintain and are usually not transferable to other buildings.
• Embedded analytics in the BMS software crunch big data to trend energy and equipment use, identify faults, provide root-cause analysis, and prioritize improvements. This option spotlights both where and why inefficiencies occur so engineers have “actionable” information for troubleshooting and preventive maintenance. It is not widely available.
• Cloud-based SaaS (Software as a Service) data analytics solutions are an efficient and cost-effective option. SaaS solutions pull data from the BMS and prioritize maintenance based on customer needs. They also enable 24/7 remote access and control, and ensure that budget planning and technology updates are manageable and predictable.• MSaaS (Managed Software as a Service) analytics solutions combine the functionality of the SaaS solution with the oversight of remote engineering experts, who monitor, detect, diagnose, and identify energy savings opportunities. These experts use building data to understand why building issues are happening and deliver recommendations for upgrade, repair, or maintenance based on business priorities. This solution can result in up to 30% reduction in HVAC system energy costs, and it can improve vendor and partner efficiency by consolidating and integrating data from various building systems.
Selecting a cloud-enabled MSaaS solution enables facility managers to:
• better understand how their buildings are performing
• maximize the return on building management and metering investments
• overcome training challenges
• reduce outsourced vendor management and costs.